The State of Illinois is launching public-private partnerships to make vaccination clinics readily available for travelers. With the help of Amtrak, Walmart, TravelCenters of America, Wally’s, and HyVee, the State will host vaccination clinics at Union Station and at travel centers in Mt. Vernon, Troy, Effingham, Bloomington, and Pontiac, said the Governor’s Office in a prepared statement.

“After an incredibly difficult year, lifesaving vaccines have truly opened the door for a summer of fun and venturing out, which is why Illinois is pulling out all the stops to make accessing these vaccines as easy as stopping for gas,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With one-shot vaccine stops at Union Station, TravelCenters of America, and along I-55, Memorial Day Weekend travelers will have yet another chance to join the more than 6 million Illinoisans who have gotten vaccinated.”

“While 66% of adults (18+) in Illinois have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, that percent needs to increase to help prevent new variants from causing a resurgence of cases in Illinois,” said the Governors’ Office. To find a vaccine location, visit

Despite the increased quantity of vaccines and the increased number of locations to get a vaccine, the number of vaccines administered in Illinois during the last month has declined by about 42% from the prior month.

Risk of Community Spread

The charts in the above chart box show that the seven-day averages of new cases in Evanston, Suburban Cook County, Chicago and the State are continuing to decline.  

The seven-day average of new cases for the State is the lowest it has been since July 24, 2020.  Evanston had only two new cases today, and its seven-day average of new cases has dropped to 1.7. Its test positivity rate is still 0.2%.  

For benchmarks used to assess the risk of spread, see footnotes 1–4.

Evanston – COVID

The City reported two new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, the same as yesterday.

The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 1.7, down from the seven-day average of 4.0 on May 19.

In the last seven days, there was a total of 12 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians, which equates to about 16 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period.

Evanston’s case positivity rate for the last seven days is 0.2%. 

There has been a total of 4,634 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 138 of which are active. 

No Evanstonian has died from COVID-19 since May 6. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 117.

Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between May 17 and May 23, there was one new confirmed COVID-19 cases of NU faculty, staff, and students. If the faculty, staff or students resides in Evanston, the case would be included in the City’s numbers. The numbers reported by NU, though, include people who live outside of Evanston. [5]

Illinois – COVID-19

In the State, there were 1,139 new COVID-19 cases reported today, up from 808 yesterday.

Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 1,149, which is the lowest seven-day average this year. The seven-day average one week ago on May 19 was 1,513, so today’s number is down by 24%. The downward trend continues. An accompanying chart shows the trend.

In the seven days ending May 26, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 64, down from 84 one week ago.

The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 2.0% and the test positivity rate is 2.6%.

On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 1,395 as of midnight on May 25. The number is up from 1,112 on March 15.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said today that the trends in new hospital admissions and total patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 has been “decreasing” in the last 28 days.

The number of patients using ICU beds is 351, up from 227 on March 15. The number of patients on ventilators is 181, up from 95 on March 15.

On a Statewide basis, there were 27 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 22,676. IDPH said today there has been “no significant change” in the mortality rate in the last 28 days.

For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 42, 21, 43, 24, 10, 17, and 27 today. The seven-day average is 26.

Variants in Illinois

IDPH is reporting a combined total of 7,755 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the State. The combined total of variants is up 18% from one week ago.

Vaccinations in the State

A total of 11,049,665 doses of vaccine have been administered in Illinois. As of May 25, 82.46% of the residents of Illinois 65 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 60.35% 16 and older have had at least one dose. These percentages continue to move up very slowly.


1/ On Feb. 12, the CDC issued a K-12 School Operational Strategy. As part of that strategy, the report says, “CDC recommends the use of two measures of community burden to determine the level of risk of transmission: 1) the total number of new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days; and 2) the percentage of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), including RT-PCR tests that are positive during the last 7 days. The two measures of community burden should be used to assess the incidence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the surrounding community (e.g., county) and not in the schools themselves.” The CDC provides a chart to assess whether the risk of transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high. The CDC recommends different types of mitigations depending on the risk level. If the two indicators suggest different levels of risk, the mitigations recommended in the higher level of risk should be implemented, says CDC. The table below, reprinted from CDC’s report, provides CDC’s Indicators and Thresholds for Community Transmission of COVID-219.

CDC’s guidelines are available here: Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention | CDC

 2/ Number of Cases per 100,000 Population. On July 1, 2020, a network of research, policy and public health experts convened by Harvard’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center published a Key Metrics for COVID Suppression framework that provides guidance to policy makers and the public on how to target and suppress COVID-19 more effectively across the nation. The targets for new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people are as follows (these are converted from cases per day to cases per week): a) less than 7 cases: “on track for containment;” b) 7 to 63 cases: “community spread,” rigorous test and trace program advised; c) 70 to 168 cases: “accelerated spread,” stay-at-home orders and/or rigorous test and trace programs advised; and d) 169+: ”tipping point,” stay-at-home orders necessary.  The article is available here:

IDPH provides these categories and ratings: 1) “minimal” – fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 in a week; 2) “moderate” – between 50 and 100 cases per week; and 3) “substantial” more than 100 cases per 100,000 in a week.  In its Metrics for School Determination of Community Spread, IDPH says the “target” is 50 cases per week per 100,000 people.

3/ The Test Positivity Rate. In addition, on May 26, 2020, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center said on its website that “the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments [on May 15, 2020] that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (i.e., out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.”  Link:

The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) says, “A network of research, policy, and public health organizations convened by Harvard and MIT called the TTSI Collaborative has agreed on a 3% test positive rate or below as a key indicator of progress towards suppression level testing.”

IDPH says the test positivity target is 5% or less. IDPH provides these categories and ratings: 1) “Minimal” – test positivity rate is equal to or less than 5%: 2) “Moderate” – test positivity rate is between 5% and 8%; and 3) “Substantial” – test positivity rate is over 8%. In its Metrics for School Determination of Community Spread, IDPH says the target is 5%.

4/ Calculations. The RoundTable calculates the number of cases per 100,000 using case data provided by IDPH and assuming that the population of Suburban Cook County is 2.469 million, that the population of Chicago is 2.710 million, and that the population of Illinois is 12.671 million.

5/ Northwestern University COVID-19 Cases. Ike C. Ogbo, Director of Evanston’s Health & Human Services Department, told the RoundTable that the COVID-19 cases reported by the City include cases of faculty, staff, and students attending Northwestern University who live in Evanston. The RoundTable asked the City in an FOIA Request to provide the number of NU students who tested positive for COVID-19 and who live in Evanston. The City refused to provide the data. On Oct. 26, the RoundTable appealed the City’s decision to the Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General’s Office. On Nov. 13, 2020, the City filed a response claiming it does not have any records showing the number of NU students who tested positive for COVID-19 and who live in Evanston.

The RoundTable has asked Northwestern University on several occasions to provide information breaking out the number of new COVID-19 cases of its faculty, staff and students by residency in Evanston. NU did not respond.

Bridge phase A Bridge to Phase 5 (

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...